From the July/August 2020 Beef Newsletter
It was 2004, and Canada was still recovering from the devastation that the “Mad Cow Disease” (BSE) had inflicted on their beef cattle industry (as well as dairy heifer exports).
Ranchers around Brandon, Manitoba organized an “All Breeds Taste of Beef” competition which drew 700 people. Cattlemen with a dozen different breeds contributed steaks to the event to be cooked on wood-fired grills, and a panel of “beef expert” judges, alongside the public visitors were each invited to “judge” the flavor of the steaks, breed by breed.
dust settled, it judges picked GELBVEIH as the “tastiest” beef. Public visitors picked LIMOUSIN . A reporter from a cattle magazine thought CHAROLAIS
ranked right up there too.
(Unlike the USA, these larger-frame French and German origin cattle are favored in Canada.) In the case of ANGUS, which dominates 70% of cattle breeding in the USA, they were awarded the “Best marketing and sportsmanship” award -- being an “also ran” to the Canadian palette.
Where are we with “taste testing” today?
This is an approach to beef promotion we do not seem to be utilizing currently, and it may be the optimal time, with commodity agricultural marketing in total disarray alongside a C-virus dislocated economy that has demonstrated the weakness of having a few large kill floors.
David Sovis, new to beef marketing in our Ovid area, has been inundated since he started package processing and direct selling from a refrigerated trailer. Currently he is selling four to six processed steers per month, and is developing a Red Poll herd to capture the advantages many “heritage” breeds have to offer. Many of you have probably had visitors driving in wishing to buy food direct from a local farmer, as consumers lost confidence in chain stores to maintain fresh supplies. This can continue after a new “normal” is restored, as it is in line with trends that already existed before pandemic disruption.